The Offices of Jessica C. Sullivan LCSW, PLLC

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With the unpredictable shifts of the pandemic we are here to offer a variety of wellness tips to you so that you can feel centered and empowered.

To review from our previous post on the DBT TIPP Skill, Distress Tolerance helps you to more effectively cope with overwhelming emotions and to give you new ways to soften the effects of upsetting situations. Today we will introduce the skill set REST. REST is useful when we have noticed a behavioral habit of impulsivity caused by overwhelming or painful emotions.

R.E.S.T. is an acronym to help remind you to Relax-Evaluate-Set an Intention-and Take Action.


The first step of the process is to relax. Stop what you are doing. Take a breath…and pause. Step away from the situation for long enough that you do not act impulsively. Do your best to remind yourself that this is an opportunity to behave differently. It could be helpful even to say “Stop” or “Relax” out loud to remind yourself to not react quickly. This is the opportunity to take a few deep breaths to help yourself calm down before evaluating other options.


Next, you can ask yourself what are the facts of the situation. It is a quick evaluation; reminding yourself that you do not have to have it all figured out and you do not have to conduct an in-depth analysis of yourself. You do not even have to solve the problem! Just do your best to have a general sense of what is happening physically and emotionally. Some questions to ask yourself can be “How do I feel?”, “What is happening?”.

Set an Intention.

The next step is to set an intention to take action. An intention is a goal or plan that you can set for yourself. Often, this is a self-soothing activity that helps you to relax and recenter. The intention may also have a larger goal such as improving communication or problem-solving strategies.

Take Action.

Finally, take action and put your plan in motion. Moving slowly and with awareness helps the intention to be more effective and decreases the likelihood of impulsive reactions to take over. 

This may seem like a lot to do but with practice these steps can be completed in a few seconds and become a newly developed habit.  

Please reach out to us with any questions about today’s review or to speak with one of our mental health care professionals!

Sara Pitcher, MS, MHC

We’re here for you! Contact us at (845) 547-0479 or [email protected]. Ready to book an appointment? Start Your Journey!